Like the 980, the Roomba 960 has smart navigation but lacks a map save feature, so it doesn’t have the advanced containment features that the higher i6 or S9 have.
Is a cheaper 960 better than a 980? They may look similar, but there Critical differences to considerWhich we will look at in this review.
I’ve put this robot to the tests to see if it’s a better option than the more expensive Roomba 980, and the results are interesting.
Excellent mid-priced option for carpet
Roomba 960 review
While 960 and 980 are Similar in many respectsThe 960 lacks a second, higher suction setting. This omission makes it inferior to the 980 on hard surfaces.
Surprisingly, despite the reduced airflow (about 9 CFM) Do well in cleaning compact sandpick up more than similar price Roborock S4 Max and S5 Max.
For those looking for a spinal robot vacuum minus the premium, the 960 is an excellent option to consider. However, it lacks features like invisible walls and restricted areas – something found with other brands like Roborock, Dreame, and Neato.
- One of the best in the price range for carpet cleaning
- Decent dirt volume (600ml)
- Ease of emptying the trash
- Effective browsing and good coverage
- Parts Availability
- Side brush rotates quickly – tends to scatter debris
- A little annoying
- No map to save or containment features
- More expensive than other brands with maps like Neato and Roborock
Introduction to Roomba 960
The Roomba 960 may be an older variant, but it has stood the test of time with above-average cleaning performance, especially on carpets.
Despite its lack of premium features, this robot is still one of the best value options for cleaning debris.
Roomba products are known for their ability to clean carpets, and the 960 is a prime example of this.
Two reasons – anti-rotation straws and dirt detection. None of the other brands own this technology, as iRobot owns the patent.
I’ve tested several robotic vacuum cleaners, and Roombas has always been on top in our deep cleaning tests.
The Roomba 960 is very similar to the 980 from an aesthetic point of view, with the same interface and camera placement.
However, the 960 has a lighter color scheme with mainly shiny gray areas.
Under it, the exact brush position and brushes with opposite rotation are segmented.
It has a one-sided brush with bristle tips. One problem is the fast-spinning side brush – spreading debris like sand or quinoa onto hard surfaces.
But it wouldn’t be much of a problem on carpet because the fibers provide more imagination.
iRobot Roomba 960 Wi-Fi Connected Mapping, Works with Alexa
Roomba products work well on carpets due to the patented brush system that has evolved over the years.
In early Roomba releases such as 675 and 690iRobot uses a more traditional design.
But the design has changed, starting with the 800 and now with the 900 series.
Gone are the bristles and blade set. In its place is a fully rubberized mattress system with grooves.
The change in design allows it to better resist tangles in theory. However, the lack of airflow hampers its hair-picking performance (more details below).
One of the positive effects of this change is the ease of cleaning the hair. You don’t need any scissors to cut tufts of hair because there are no bristles in your way.
Bit take note that Roomba 980 Better at cleaning hair due to higher airflow. So it is the best choice for pet hair.
The Roomba 960 has an above-average 600ml litter box. It is one of the largest in the Roomba product line and against other brands that are usually 400-500ml in volume.
Having more trash means fewer trips to the trash and more time vacuuming.
Unfortunately, the 960’s container is not washable because part of the engine is inside.
It has a HEPA filter, but it is also not washable due to the paper material used.
If you are planning to buy this robot, I suggest buying an extra set of filters.
When Roomba 980 was launched, it was The first robotic vacuum cleaner With smart navigation.
960 has the same mobility as the 980, where Transcends in straight lines. It relies on a camera mounted on the top to track its location and sensors on the front bumper to avoid obstacles.
However, it cannot save maps, which means that users cannot draw “forbidden” lines or “forbidden” areas.
Only the I6, I7, I8, and S9 have a map save feature, but these options are more expensive than the 960.
Aside from the camera, iRobot has also placed an optical sensor underneath as a backup if this robot encounters low-light conditions.
This sensor is similar to the one in Roomba I3 and Roborock E4However, these robots do not have a camera mounted on top, but they move similarly.
And it lags behind brands like Roborock and Neato in this price category in this area.
In addition to not saving maps, there is no selective cleaning of the room. But it is Alexa compatible, so you can use voice to operate this bot.
I scattered Quaker oats around the room to test how much 960 of them picked up. Aside from a few missing spots, you’ve picked up a good part.
The areas she mostly missed were areas she didn’t fit in, so she gets high marks with coverage.
Will it scratch the Roomba 960’s furniture?
One of the problems with the early 600-series and even the latest Roomba E5 is their tendency to bump into things hard.
This is a slight concern for me with the 960. There have been instances where I hit hard an obstacle, as was the case with this rail.
However, he slowed down as he passed around my brand new office chair.
So I think it will depend on the visibility of the object and its location.
App Features of Roomba 960
Roomba 960 is compatible with the iRobot app. Compared to other brands like Dream or RoborockIt does not have many features.
There is no live map because it only uses iAdapt 2.0 without any feature to save maps.
But it alerts users to error messages in normal terms. Therefore, there is a little guesswork involved in spotting the error – if it appears.
But there are cases when an error code is published.
The app provides a hands-free option to access the robot. You do not have to be physically present to operate it.
It also enables users to change cleaning settings, such as choosing one or two cycles or turning on edge cleaning.
However, it lacks a second power setting – something found in the more expensive Roomba 980.
The lack of a maximum setting hinders cleaning performance on hard floors and carpets, but the difference isn’t too big.
You can also use the app to schedule automatic runs. Unfortunately, only one cycle per day is allowed. It is not as flexible as other brands that allow unlimited playback.
Another option is to enable a feature where the bot will turn on once you leave the house. It also has the option to specify the day the bot will do the job.
How much air is flowing in the Roomba 960?
Airflow is the most significant reduction for the Roomba 960 from the 980.
I used an anemometer to measure and only 960 Produced about 9.33 CFM In single power mode. that it Less than Roomba 980 at 13.74 CFM in economy mode and 19.74 in performance mode.
There is a relationship between reduced airflow and performance, which I will look into next. Learn more about the similarities and differences between Roomba 960 and 980 are here.
One of my biggest questions for the Roomba 960 is how it picks up various debris at a low production capacity.
First, here are the scores.
- Total: 93.92%
- Solid ground: 96.15%
- Sand on the hard floor: 97.06%
- Carpet (surface): 96.87%
- deep cleaning: 85.6%
The results aren’t as good as the Roomba 980, but they’re still pretty good.
It was surprisingly no better on carpet than on hard surfaces due to lower airflow (more details below).
hard floor results
- Quaker Oats: 97.6%
- Cafe floors: 99.2%
- Quinoa: 88.4%
- pet litter: 99.4%
The two-fold reason the 960 doesn’t pick up as well on hard floors as the 980 is is the lack of airflow and the fast spinning side brush.
While the dirt detector is somewhat of it, the suction is a bit weak, especially on heavy items like sand and pet litter.
The side brush littered a large portion of the quinoa and pet droppings. This is a problem for most Roomba products outside of the S9.
Sand test on hard floor
Sand is one of the hardest debris a robot vacuum can pick up. I used 50 grams on the hard floor to work out how much the 960 is picking up.
You picked up an average percentage. Not as good as the Roomba 980 which got a score of 100%, but it is good.
You can see the effect of reduced airflow in this test. Among these robots, I would choose the 980 if I needed to clean things like sand regularly.
steel deflection test
Another experiment I did with the 960 was the hair wrap test where I spread 5 and 7 inch hair strands.
The Roomba 960 has had both lengths, capture less than 15%. Most of the hair is tangled up on the bobbins and hubs.
However, cleaning hair from bristle-free extracts is easier than with a bristle brush on the Roomba 675 or 690.
The 960 did decent in our edge-cleaning test with roughly the same results as the more powerful 980. Check the previous and next image above for your reference.
Most of the ring-shaped robots I’ve tested don’t perform well except for variants with two side brushes, such as the Ecovacs T8 AIVI and ILIFE A10. Both pick up more and leave a cleaner surface afterward.
Next, we’ll look at how well the Roomba 960 does on the carpet. I tested it with the same debris found on hardwood floors, and here are the results.
Low stack results
- Quaker Oats: 97.4%
- Cafe floors: 91.6%
- Quinoa: 100%
- pet litter: 98.8%
The 960 struggled a lot picking up ground coffee despite the dirt caught kicking and making extra passes. Again, it is the lack of airflow at play here and the amplification of fine debris as such.
- Quaker Oats: 95.6%
- Cafe floors: 92.8%
- Quinoa: 100%
- pet litter: 98.8%
The results on the middle of the pile were similar to the results on the low pile.
It did the best cleaning of quinoa and pet litter but struggled a bit with the ground coffee.
deep cleaning test
Finally, in this section, we’ll take a look at how well the 960 cleans compact sand. I rubbed 100g of fine sand on a medium pile rug for this experiment, and I picked up average 85.6% In three tests.
It is a very good result for a robot vacuum cleaner with low air flow but lagging behind 980 that picked up 91.9%.
Again, low airflow is a major reason why it doesn’t work.
How long does Roomba 960 last?
Another reduction with the 960 is the smaller capacity battery, which reduces operating time significantly. she has Smaller capacity 1800mAh battery that will run only for up to 75 minutes.
Fortunately, uptime shouldn’t be an issue with bots like this since it recharges and resumes. It will resume cleaning after it is recharged if it has not finished the task previously.
You can upgrade the battery to match the 980’s runtime, but unfortunately I don’t see 3600mAh batteries on Amazon.
What is the sound of the Roomba 960?
I used a sound meter to measure the noise, and the 960 was very noisy, producing More than 68.1 dB In single power mode.
It’s not as noisy as the 980 in performance mode, but it’s not something I’d recommend using during the evening.
|the show length||Up to 75 minutes.|
|Dirt Capacity (Dry)||600 ml|
|Recharge and resume||yes|
Roomba 960 . Maintenance
All robot vacuums require a certain level of TLC. Fortunately, cleaning the various components is not difficult. Please check out my Roomba 980 cleaning guide – it provides a step-by-step guide on cleaning parts like the filter, wheel, hoods, and more.
Availability of spare parts
One great point to buy Roomba products It is the absolute availability of parts. There will be no issues with sourcing components, not only basic elements like filter or extractors, but more obscure parts like side wheels, battery, side brush motor, etc.
These components are not only available from iRobot but also from third party brands due to their popularity.
Where can I buy the Roomba 960?
You can buy Roomba 960 from online stores such as Amazon. Check the link below for the latest prices.
Disclaimer: I’ll earn a commission if you buy through the link above, but at no additional cost to you, so it’s a win for us!
Is Roomba 960 worth it?
The Roomba 960 is not the most priced robot vacuum. Others like Roomba S4 Max Or the Neato D5 offers more in terms of app features.
However, when it comes to what is most important, which is cleaning performance, the Roomba 960 is one of the best carpet cleaning robots.
Despite the lower airflow, it picked up more sand than the S4 Max in our deep cleaning tests.
Rubber extractors and dirt detectors are making huge profits with their performance, and none of the other brands have this combo.
If you don’t mind not having advanced features like saving maps or keeping zones, but just don’t mind picking up wrecks, the 960 should be on your shortlist.
5 reasons to choose Roomba 960
- Cheaper than Roomba 980: If cost is a sticking point, the Roomba 960 is an excellent alternative to the 980.
- Decent in cleaning compact dirt: Despite the lower airflow, it still got a decent percentage (85.6%) in our deep cleaning tests.
- Effective Mobility: The 960 uses a VSLAM which combines a top-mounted camera and a SLAM to cross over efficiently. It is very adept at navigating even in confined spaces.
- Large litter box: 600ml capacity is larger than most robot vacuums available.
- Availability of parts: Roomba is expensive to buy, but the modular design and availability of parts bode well for its longevity.
Verdict: An excellent mid-priced option for carpet
Roombas are well known for their deep cleaning capabilities, and the 960 is no exception. Even with poor airflow, it still picked up 85.6% One of the best results out of all the robot vacuums I’ve tested.
Cleaning performance is excellent, especially on carpets. However, it will struggle with heavy debris such as sand with low airflow.
If you don’t mind the lack of features like saving maps or the option to set protection zones, this bot makes sense for homes that are mostly carpeted.
It’s an excellent alternative to the more expensive Roomba 980. Among these bots, I would choose the cheapest option. There are instances when selling with either, so compare prices first before making your decision.
Excellent mid-priced option for carpet
- Mobility – 93%
- Surface cleaning – 96.69%
- deep cleaning – 85.6%
- Quality – 95%
- Design – 96%
- Values - 94%
Despite the lack of features, Roomba 960 remains one of the Best robot vacuums in the price range For cleaning floors – especially carpets. I picked up an average of 85.6% – One of the best scores out of all the robot vacuums I’ve tested so far. Not as good as the Roomba 980, but it still gets the job done. If you don’t mind not having advanced navigational containment features or selective room cleaning, this is an excellent alternative.